PinPointe™ FootLaser™

Safe, effective therapy neutralizes nail fungus.

Shirley Lane enjoys getting pedicures, even if her pretty toenail polish is hidden by the sneakers she usually wears in public.

Photo by Fred Bellet.

Shirley still prefers to wear
sneakers, but says her
toenails are completely healed.

Unpainted, the nail of her right big toe hadn’t looked its best in a while, but she figured it was a side effect of her breast cancer treatments 11 years ago. Chemotherapy can cause nails to discolor, develop lines or small indentations, and become thin or brittle, among other changes.
“It was dark and yellow and nasty-looking, and it was getting thicker,” she complains. “It looked like it was going to come off.”
Over-the-counter solutions didn’t work, so Shirley made an appointment with Dawn Chiu, DPM, a board-qualified podiatric surgeon at Sarasota Foot and Ankle Center. She clipped a small piece of Shirley’s toenail and sent it for a biopsy, which confirmed she had onychomycosis, a common fungal infection.

Laser’s Healing Heat

Typically, microscopic fungi enter the nail bed through a break in the nail caused by an injury or, in Shirley’s case, a seemingly innocuous microtrauma such as rubbing the inside of a shoe or wearing nail polish.
“Most of the nail polish on the market has formaldehyde, toluene and other harsh chemicals that weaken the nail bed,” Dr. Chiu cautions. “If the polish is left on for months, it traps moisture underneath and is a breeding ground for fungus.”
If the infection isn’t treated, the nail can become painful or so weak and brittle, it eventually falls off.
Before and after images courtesy of Sarasota Foot and Ankle Center.Dr. Chiu recommended PinPointe FootLaser therapy for Shirley. It usually takes just one session to kill persistent fungi that resist topical medications.
“We grind down the nail, then pass the light over it repeatedly in crisscross patterns so that we know the laser gets good coverage,” Dr. Chiu explains. “The patient feels a warm sensation, but no pain. They can come in and walk out the same day and continue their daily activities without side effects.”
Afterward, patients apply a prescription antifungal nail solution at home for a year to facilitate recovery. The success rate of this combined treatment is more than 80 percent, she assures.
Dr. Chiu notes that the PinPointe laser is a safe alternative to a prescribed oral medication that, while effective, carries the risk of liver damage.
Although the laser eliminates the fungus, the nail doesn’t clear immediately. The portion with fungus damage must grow out, which can take eight to ten months. Dr. Chiu suggests follow-up appointments every three months for a year to monitor her patients’ progress, which is included in the service treatment package.
Shirley says her toenail looks good again after ten months. And while she’s back to wearing nail polish, it’s a natural, nontoxic product available at Sarasota Foot and Ankle Center.
Shirley has been a patient there for more than a decade – receiving treatment for calluses, a strained tendon and other conditions – and is so satisfied with the gentle care she receives that she recommends the practice to others.
“I like the doctors’ personalities,” Shirley shares, “and they always do good jobs. I have been a longtime patient, and I trust them with my foot care.”

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